By advancing Reason as the basis of intellectual authority, the Age of Enlightenment initiated both the rise of modern science and the elevation of humanism, individualism, and democracy as the basis of the modern state. It was discovered that the Earth is not the physical center of the universe, and liberal political views developed which eventually led to abolitionism, anti-racism, and sexual equality.
But it has been only about 500 years since Copernicus, and apparently radical ideas take time to catch on. Here, Cosmic Variance puts a poll on interracial dating (83% of Americans find it acceptable) into perspective with the acceptance of heliocentrism (74%).
Who would say that in 500 years there hasn't been just as much progress in ethics/philosophy/politics as in science?